French GP: Rizla Suzuki qualifying report

Promising race pace and third row start for Vermeulen at Le Mans Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racer Chris Vermeulen equalled his best qualifying position of the season so far, achieving eighth place at Le Mans in France. Vermeulen (1'33.440, 28 laps)...

Promising race pace and third row start for Vermeulen at Le Mans

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racer Chris Vermeulen equalled his best qualifying position of the season so far, achieving eighth place at Le Mans in France.

Vermeulen (1'33.440, 28 laps) will start from middle of the third row for tomorrow's 28-lap race, giving him a great chance of getting away with the lead group and making an attack on the podium positions. The Australian's race pace during this morning's final practice session and the early part of this afternoon's qualifying was consistently up with the front runners and Vermeulen is confident that he will be able to run with them tomorrow.

Loris Capirossi (P11, 1'33.707, 28 laps) will start immediately behind his team-mate from the middle of the fourth row. The experienced Italian made big changes to his Rizla Suzuki GSV-R this afternoon and was pleased with the feeling he found from his machine. Capirossi would probably have been further up the grid but was obstructed on his final qualifying lap by two other riders. He is confident that he will improve in the race tomorrow and will be looking for a higher placed finish than the grid position he earned today.

Today's qualifying was again held in dry but overcast conditions with track temperatures reaching 37ºC. Championship leader Dani Pedrosa on his factory Honda will start from pole position for tomorrow's race that gets underway at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT).

Chris Vermeulen:

"As a whole the weekend has gone very well and I am happy with the progress we have made, but I'm a bit disappointed with the qualifying position as it has been our worst session of the weekend. The bike and tyres are both working well and I am pleased with the way I am riding around Le Mans. We have a good race pace and set-up, and we did quite a few laps on the Bridgestone race tyres and are happy with the choice of rubber for tomorrow for both consistency and durability. I honestly think we are in good stead to fight for a podium and I will be trying my best to achieve that -- that's certainly my goal!"

Loris Capirossi:

"The whole weekend hasn't been very easy, but I really want to say a big thank-you to all my team because we decided to modify the whole bike for this afternoon, and it worked because my feeling was much better. We improved the rhythm and now I think we are not in too bad a position for the race. I lost out on my last qualifying lap -- which was my quickest so far -- because of two riders having a chat on the track, and I missed out on my best lap. For tomorrow I think we can improve further and if we get a good start I think I can stay with the top guys."

Paul Denning -- Team Manager:

"The result today isn't what we were looking for in terms of positions, but as ever the pace has been really hot and the competition is immense. Chris has got to a high level on race tyres, and he has been consistently amongst the first four or five. If he can get away well from the third row, and be in the front group in the early laps, the team has every confidence that he has the bike, the tyres and the ability to challenge for the podium.

"For Loris we are still looking for a little more speed from the whole package, he improved significantly and dropped into the 34s this afternoon, but we still need to find a bit more and allow him to run with the front group. His qualifying position was compromised by two riders having a discussion in the middle of the racetrack, but this happens and Loris has seen enough of this over the years not to be too worried about it!"

-credit: suzuki-racing.com

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Loris Capirossi , Chris Vermeulen , Paul Denning , Dani Pedrosa